I enjoy these veggie burgers because they're protein packed and full of flavor. They feature Quinoa for great texture and because it's just so delicious and good for you. They also have white beans which give great body, whole wheat (or whole Spelt in my case) breadcrumbs to hold everything together and lots of veggies to freshen them up. I serve these patties 'sans' the bun, just simply topped with the tahini sauce, sliced avocado, and a salad alongside.
Tahini (aka: tahina) is such a great ingredient and completely under appreciated, in my opinion. It's a nut butter (think peanut butter) made from sesame seeds and is super rich and creamy yet pleasantly bitter. Most people know it as a sauce for Falafel or an ingredient in hummus. I think it pairs really well with whole grains and I especially love it with Quinoa. I'm also pretty hooked on it spread on toast and drizzled with honey and salt.
It's sort of an unpredictable ingredient to work with as every brand behaves a bit differently, in my experience. I like a brand called 'Joyva' which is readily available at most supermarkets. Make sure you stir well before using it to reincorporate the oil which will be sitting on top. Tahini also has this funny way of thinning out when you first add liquid and then all of a sudden it seizes up again. Don't worry, just keep stirring and adding liquid (you'll need at least equal parts liquid to tahini) and eventually you'll have a silky creamy sauce of the proper consistency.
Yields 4-6 large patties
1 cup cooked Quinoa
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup dry whole wheat breadcrumbs
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, finely chopped
2 TB tahini (I like Joyva brand)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 TB olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1) In a medium bowl, mash the navy beans with a fork to form a coarse paste. Add the breadcrumbs, scallions, parsley, carrot, egg, cayenne, cumin, tahini, and quinoa. Season with salt & pepper and mix to combine. Form the mixture into patties, each about 4" in diameter x 1/2" thick.
2) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook the patties until browned and firm, about 5-8 minutes per side. Serve with tahini sauce (recipe below), and a simple green salad with sliced oranges and avocados.
For Tahini Sauce:
1/3 cup well-stirred Tahini
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (use 2 TB at a time, may need a bit more or less)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper
1) In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini and the water. Continue whisking while adding the lemon juice until you reach your desired consistency. It may take a bit more or a bit less lemon juice and/or water to get there. Season with cayenne, salt & pepper, and stir to combine.
Simple green salad (I'm going with winter escarole and raddichio tonight)
Lemon juice & olive oil dressing (1 part lemon juice, 2 parts olive oil, salt & pepper)